Does White Mulberry Have Health Benefits?
Written by Rachael Link, MS, RD on April 12, 2021 — Medically reviewed by Sade Meeks, MS, RD
White mulberry is a plant that has long been used in natural medicine to treat various ailments (1Trusted Source).
In addition to its impressive nutrient content, some studies have found that white mulberry may be associated with several health benefits.
In fact, research suggests that it may help block cancer cell growth and lower your blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
This article takes a closer look at the potential benefits, downsides, and uses of white mulberry.
What is white mulberry?
White mulberry, which is known scientifically as Morus alba, is a type of tree native to certain parts of China and India (1Trusted Source).
The tree is notable for its long leaves, petalless flowers, and small berries, which range in color from white to pink or dark purple.
Today, white mulberry is grown worldwide, and the leaves are commonly used to feed silkworms and other livestock.
The fruit also has a sweet, somewhat tart flavor and is often used to make juice, tea, jam, or dried snacks.
The leaves, bark, root, and fruit of the white mulberry tree are likewise used in traditional medicine and have recently been studied for their potential health-promoting properties (2Trusted Source).
Supplements containing white mulberry extract are widely available and can be found in capsule or liquid form at many natural health stores.
White mulberry is a type of tree native to Asia. The plant’s leaves, fruit, bark, and root are often used in traditional forms of medicine and may possess health-promoting properties.
White mulberry fruit is rich in several important nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, and iron.
One ounce (28 grams) of raw white mulberries contains the following (3Trusted Source):
Protein: 3 grams
Fat: 0.5 grams
Carbs: 22 grams
Fiber: 4 grams
Vitamin C: 130% of the Daily Value (DV)
Iron: 20% of the DV
Calcium: 8% of the DV
Vitamin A: 2% of the DV
White mulberries are especially rich in vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant to neutralize harmful free radicals and alleviate inflammation (4Trusted Source).
They’re also high in iron, a key mineral involved in DNA synthesis and oxygen transport (5Trusted Source).
White mulberries are highly nutritious and contain a good amount of fiber, vitamin C, and iron in each serving.
White mulberries may be associated with several health benefits.
Extracts may slow cancer cell growth
White mulberries are rich in various cancer-fighting antioxidants, including flavonoids, alkaloids, and phenolic acids (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
According to one animal study, specific compounds isolated from white mulberries reduced the growth of breast cancer cells in mice (8Trusted Source).
Similarly, another test-tube study showed that white mulberry root bark extract blocked the division and spread of colorectal cancer cells, as well as induced cancer cell death (9Trusted Source).
What’s more, other test-tube studies have found that white mulberry extract may be effective against colon and cervical cancers (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
However, keep in mind that these studies focused on the effects of a concentrated amount of mulberry extract directly on cancer cells in test tubes, as well as isolated compounds derived from mulberry.
Therefore, more research is needed to determine how mulberry may affect cancer cell growth in humans when used as a supplement or consumed in typically consumed amounts.
Reduces cholesterol levels
Some research suggests that white mulberry could help decrease cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
In one animal study, white mulberry leaf tea reduced triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL (bad) cholesterol in mice (12Trusted Source).
Another animal study showed that administering mulberry extract to rats on a high cholesterol diet decreased both total and LDL cholesterol (13Trusted Source).
Still, additional studies are needed to evaluate how white mulberry may affect cholesterol levels in humans.
May improve blood sugar control
Several studies have found that white mulberry and its components may help improve blood sugar management.
One small study in 24 people with type 2 diabetes found that consuming 1,000 mg of mulberry leaf extract 3 times daily for 3 months significantly reduced blood sugar levels after meals, compared with a control group (14Trusted Source).
It also improved levels of hemoglobin A1C, which is a marker used to measure long-term blood sugar regulation, although this was not statistically significant (14Trusted Source).
In another study in 12 healthy adults, a compound isolated from mulberry leaf extract was shown to improve blood sugar regulation after 12 weeks (15Trusted SourceTrusted Source).
One animal study also found that administering mulberry leaves to mice helped maintain the function of beta cells in the pancreas, which are responsible for insulin production (16Trusted Source).
Some studies have found that white mulberry may help slow cancer cell growth, reduce cholesterol levels, and improve blood sugar management. However, more human research is needed.
White mulberry extract supplements are widely available at many natural health stores and typically found in capsule, liquid, or tea form.
Most supplement manufacturers recommend consuming white mulberry tea or capsules with meals to promote better blood sugar management.
Meanwhile, the liquid extracts are usually mixed into a beverage of your choice and consumed a few times per day to support overall health.
Although there’s no official recommended dosage for white mulberry, most supplement manufacturers advise taking 1,000–3,000 mg per day for best results.
White mulberry extract supplements are available in capsule, liquid, or tea form. Most manufacturers recommend taking 1,000–3,000 mg per day with meals.
For most people, white mulberry can be enjoyed as part of a healthy, well-rounded diet with little risk of adverse side effects.
Although allergic reactions to white mulberry are very uncommon, they have been reported.
Mulberry fruit has also been shown to trigger an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to birch pollen due to cross-reactivity (17Trusted Source).
That said, be sure to talk with your healthcare professional before using white mulberry extracts, teas, or supplements, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications.
White mulberry may cause allergic reactions, especially in people who are sensitive to birch pollen. Those with underlying health conditions should talk with their doctor before using white mulberry supplements.
The bottom line
White mulberry is a tree that’s native to certain parts of Asia and often cultivated for its fruit, leaves, bark, and roots.
Although more research in humans is needed, some studies suggest that white mulberry extract could improve blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol, and even slow the growth of cancer cells.
White mulberry is often found in supplement form and widely available as a tea, capsule, or liquid extract.
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